The new series of Grand Designs has just started and a few people have asked us about where we are with the house now, and did we 'do' Grand Designs! It made me realise that we hadn't posted on this blog we kept up with diligently for years. So it was time for an update.
We didn't 'do' Grand Designs. To be honest we didn't think about it early enough, but I am not sure that we could have coped with Kevin's questions as well as everyone elses!
So, I think it's fair to say that the last few months before we moved in on the 28th May 2012 were somewhat full on. We were trying to finish tiling, decorating, and all those pesky jobs that you know if you don't do now, you never will.
You missed me getting very emotional with the Building Control inspector when he gave us our Certificate of Completion and Occupancy Certificate, without any red items that needed rectifying. None. We did it in one(ish). I was so proud of us that day.
You missed move in day. Something of an anti-climax if we're honest. We seemed to have been in the house forever building it, falling in and out of love with it many times over the three years, and now we were actually in. I think it hit us about a month later when all the furniture arrived, then it felt like a home.
And here we are. We still pinch ourselves sometimes when we have time to reflect on what we actually did, at our age (young apparently, not old!), with our own bare hands, while living over 2 hours away by car for the first 18 months, working full time throughout, and we're still speaking and married! Result!
We still have a distinct lack of light shades, and only two pictures up in the whole house; Darran's collector's edition The Simpsons stamps, and a picture we bought in Paris when we got engaged in 2004. We really need to get more up, but have always wanted to find things that mean something to us, rather than trot off to Ikea and buy load of random pictures.
Moving in was only about two-thirds of the way to the whole project being done. We now have the outside to do. The house is in the middle of the plot, so there is more ground at the front than the back, but also quite a lot either side too.
We didn't do anything from 2012 to now, but last year we started the back garden (then decided to go on holiday twice to make up for the last 6 years!), lawn and raised veggie beds went in.
This year we have done the decking which adjoins the back of the house (washing line still to move!), and have started to put block paving around the sides and along the back.
Our goal by the end of the year is to have all this block paving done, new slabbing under the breeze way and up the ramp, and then next year we will do the drive, but we have decided to get contractors in to do that for us as there is a lot of levelling to do.
So, it's starting again. Just when you thought my pink steel toe-capped boots had gone in to retirement, they're back.
What did we learn throughout it all?
Anything is possible.
We had the idea. We found a plot. We planned it, drew it, financed it, project managed it, built it.
We jumped through hoops, fought a few battles. We compromised, we sort counsel.
We tried. And then we tried again. And again.
We celebrated, we cried, we laughed. We fell out. We made up again.
There were times we wanted to sell everything for 50p.
But we did it.
And I love that we did.